Aircon Gas Leaking: All Your Questions Answered

Aircon leaks are one of the most common complaints we receive from clients. Unfortunately, simply saying you have a leaking aircon does not immediately determine the problem. Leaking aircon units could mean a lot of things, but one of the most crucial ones to look out for is an AC gas leak.

Unfortunately, aircon gas leaking is a rather complex problem to spot if you are not an aircon professional. So here, we try to answer all the questions you may have about air conditioner gas leaks along with other types of aircon leaks that you may encounter.

What is a normal aircon leak?

An aircon leak is a normal and expected occurrence in any air conditioner. It is caused by the expansion and contraction of the refrigerant as it cycles between the indoor and outdoor units. If your aircon unit leaks, you will usually see water dripping from the compressor or from one of the pipes connecting the indoor and outdoor units. 

Aircon service providers can help you determine if your aircon is leaking (and whether it is indeed an aircon gas leak), and what needs to be done about it. In many cases, aircon leaks can be repaired at a lower cost than aircon replacement.

What Causes Aircon Gas Leak?

Air bubbles in the evaporator coil of your air conditioning unit create a constant pressure that reduces compressor performance and increases power consumption. Due to the air bubbles penetrating the fins of the indoor evaporator coil, this may cause overheating or localised corrosion, reducing cooling efficiency from other parts of the system. This prolonged condition of your air conditioner often leads to gas leaks.

The increase in pressure due to air bubble formation also contributes to compressor failure over time – especially if it operates for long periods without being serviced by a professional.

More factors contribute to gas leaks in the aircon conditioner. One of these is a leak in the gas refrigerant, which can be caused by improper gas charging during installation, damage due to corrosion or accidents, or overcharging resulting from lack of maintenance. Gas leaks may also occur when gas components are replaced with gas that does not contain the same amount of refrigerant gas, reducing the gas pressure in the system.

This is why it is important always to have an aircon professional deal with aircon gas leaks. Having your aircon gas leak repaired is advisable if you notice any change in the cooling performance of your air conditioner or if it stops operating entirely.

What is a gas refrigerant?

A gas refrigerant is a compound used in air conditioners and refrigeration systems that converts from a gas to a liquid at low pressures. When the gas refrigerant enters the evaporator coil, it absorbs heat from the surrounding air. It then returns to gas form before being compressed and condensing into a liquid in the outdoor unit.

Gas refrigerants are often hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are safe for the ozone layer but sometimes contribute to global warming when gas leaks occur. To reduce gas leaks, there is an international movement towards using gas refrigerants with zero ozone depletion potential, known to be safer for the environment.

How can I tell if air conditioning leaks water or gas?

Naturally, it can be quite a challenge to know if gas is leaking from your air conditioner.

Layers of frozen condensation on air circulation coils can affect gas leaks or your heating system. In evaporators, ice accumulation usually causes the loss of the air cooling component of the refrigerative fluid.

Gases can potentially contaminate air conditioners in many homeowners across Singapore. Increasing bills can cause an electricity leak or gas leak. The gas is exposed to high-quality leakage from air conditioning equipment. Some Air Conditioning appliances may leak from the air vent. Stranger sounds come and go in the air.

Water dripping from the aircon is usually a sign of a water leak, which is not as serious as a gas leak but should still be repaired.

If you notice leaking gas, it’s usually accompanied by a hissing sound. If this happens with your air conditioner, immediately shut off the gas supply.

Aircon gas leaks are most often detected by water dripping from the compressor or other gas components. An AC gas leak can be due to an accident or poor installation during installation or gas charging. A gas component with low gas pressure means it will most likely leak gas over time. Having a gas leak repaired is crucial because it can lead to compressor failure.

An aircon gas leak can also be detected by a loss of cooling performance, the presence of oil on the outdoor unit’s drain pan or on the floor beneath your unit. If you have an older unit, gas leaks may not be detectable until the gas pressure becomes too high and the compressor eventually fails.

How can aircon gas leaks be detected?

It’s likely an aircon gas leak at the air conditioning unit will cause your room to not feel cooler than normal. In some cases, air compressor leaks can destroy a component. Any exposure for a period of 10 years could lead to serious health problems. The coolant in the air conditioners evaporates immediately. Occasionally an asphyxic reaction is expected, which causes nausea. In this context, residential and commercial property owners should take swift and decisive action when confronted with leaking gas in their installed air conditioning units.

Are gas leaks from air conditioners dangerous?

An AC gas leak can be very dangerous. The gas that is used in air conditioners is called R-22, and it is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). R-22 gas is no longer used in newer air conditioning units due to environmental and health hazards, but many old units still use R-22 gas.

Occasionally an asphyxic reaction is expected from gas leaks in your air conditioner, which causes nausea. In this context, residential and commercial property owners should take swift and decisive action when confronted with leaking gas. Any exposure for a period of 10 years could lead to serious health problems. The coolant in the air conditioners evaporates immediately. If you detect gas leakage, turn off the gas supply and have it repaired as soon as possible. Continued use can result in compressor damage or failure.

How can I fix aircon gas leaks?

Unless you are a professional, it’s best to not fix aircon gas leaks by yourself. This is a complex maintenance and repair job that requires an aircon technician. Contact an aircon servicing company near you to properly assess the causes of the gas leak. They may change the refrigerant and cooling pipes or your aircon coolant pipe to fix gas leaks.

More info about ac gas leaking here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5gCyNAVMF0

Conclusion

Yes, air conditioner gas leaks are a common problem with air conditioners. In fact, gas leaks are one of the most common reasons for an air conditioner to stop working. There are a variety of reasons for an air conditioning gas leak, but some of the most common causes include:

  • Faulty installation or repair work
  • Damage to the unit due to weather or accident
  • Wear and tear on the unit over time

All these can be prevented with preventive maintenance conducted by an aircon servicing company.

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